Creating a Customer Hero Story

Posted by Katelind Hays on Feb 15, 2018 1:15:00 PM
Katelind Hays

Customer Hero StoryVirtually There Session Recap

Every day we tell stories, to ourselves, our learners, and our customers. Psychologists have determined that storytelling makes a difference in how people act. In fact, human behavior follows a predictable pattern: an event happens, that event sparks feelings, and from those feelings, we take action. Stories provide us with the opportunity to influence that cycle and drive behavior.

But how do we tell better stories that help us achieve better business results? Christine Miles, Chief Architect of Ci Squared, identified a customer hero story as our best option.

During her recent Virtually There session, Christine defined the "Art of the Nudge," key storytelling elements, and guided learners in writing their own customer hero story. Watch the entire replay for all her expert insight.

Shifting the Paradigm

If we already tell stories in business, why aren’t we achieving desired outcomes? Christine believes it comes down to the fact that we’re telling the wrong stories, saying:

“We know from research that when we’re talking to customers about our products / services internally or externally, we know too much. We get too close to our own story. We often focus on products, features, benefits. We get lost in the sea of that, and our customers get lost with us.”

Instead of focusing on functionality or features, we need to instead hone in on the “why.” The results of our product, service, or program compel listeners to buy-in more than the “how.”

Christine provided a compelling explanation:

“When we focus on the 'why,' we competitively differentiate ourselves and are more likely to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

Why the Customer Hero Story

Stories in business are a lot like microlearning. They’re 90 seconds to five minutes long, and they’re designed to capture listener attention. All the while, the story relates back to a key business objective.

The customer hero story focuses on the experience of a customer who has used your offering to achieve a desired result. “Rather than focusing on feature and function, the hero sells for you,” Christine elucidates. By detailing how a customer hero overcame obstacles, moved through the change process, and improved business objectives, a new audience is more likely to engage with your brand.

Four Steps for Creating a Customer Hero Story

Research demonstrates that this type of story can revolutionize how we communicate with our audience. But how do we put together a compelling story that features a hero who has benefitted from our products, services, or programs?

Christine Miles shared four easy steps that you can follow for drafting a successful customer hero story:

Step 1: Identify a customer or learner you’ve helped. Think of their name and title, and what business they were in. This is the center of your story – the hero – so you have to make sure you have identified an actual person who has benefitted from what you have to offer.

Step 2: Define two or three struggles your hero faced. Before they had access to your offering, what prevented your hero from reaching their full potential?

Step 3: Relate those hero struggles to the larger business. Our hero plays an important role in their company. We have to connect their individual challenges to bigger business challenges so that our story will really resonate.

Step 4: Share how your hero felt when they were struggling. Remember, in storytelling, we need to convey both facts and feelings to our target audience. A hero’s impact comes from their emotions. Our target audience has to care about the hero. Christine argues, “The more vividly I can imagine the situation and resulting struggle of a hero, the more likely I am to engage with the story.”

Ready to draft your own customer hero story? Download the helpful infographic for guiding questions you can ask during each step of the process.


Topics: Virtually There, Virtual Teams & Modern Workplace